Friday, March 22, 2013

Not much happens around these here parts . . . or does it?

Today,  I went to get dressed and noticed something was a little different. I have a gap.
Like there is the teeniest, TINIEST spot of empty space where my thighs used to meet.

I did a little dance. For a little gap. For a little success.

I'm not sure if this is normal--this level of excitement over some fat destroyed (cause we're pretty much hoping that we never let it come back . . . "lost" tends to imply I mean to find it again . . . Yeah, NO).  Maybe it is. Or maybe this is just another low point in my existence, demonstrating, once again, how my life is less than thrilling.

Today, my second biggest "interesting" moment was when I opened a bag of newly purchased cotton balls and found this:

I'm pretty sure I've eaten Wheaties of greater magnitude. The picture really doesn't capture how tiny these suckers are. TINY.
I was so astounded that I took a picture and posted it on Facebook, asking if this was the true average cotton ball size or if California is rationing my cotton ball usage.

I then realized what I was posting and added this:

And then I blogged about it. Yes, this is a low point, folks.  I'm well aware. -_-

I mean, it's not like stuff doesn't happen around here.

Last Friday was my birthday . . . So I cleaned the house . . . Then Chris saved the day by taking me out to sushi, dessert, and buying me fabulous gifts :]
Including boxes of his two favorite Girl Scout cookies, but we're kind of overlooking that ;] I mean, they're Girl Scout cookies--it's not like you can go wrong with those. At all. EVER.
And I made sure to share. ;]

The next day, we ran off to the Monterey Aquarium (one of my all-time favorite places).  If you follow my instagram (or, you know, pay attention to the left sidebar), you've seen these, but, because I haven't gone through and edited the photos on my actual camera, here's my iPhone's take on the aquarium:

The hubs takes his photography very seriously (it's something else he does WAY better than I do ;]).
Also, I'm in love with him in the hat.

In other news . . . 

Monday, my sis-in-law found out that she's having a little boy!
They were both really REALLY hoping for a little girl, but, the moment they found out the gender, Julie went nuts buying little boy things and just couldn't be more excited.  I'm going to have a nephew!

P.S. Still REALLY weirded out by saying that. I can say, "Chris is going to have a nephew" or "Chris is going to be an uncle" with no problem. But me? Yeah, no . . . Can't e say it. Can't quite admit it.  I'm just the girl Chris is married to who's watching this all go down and celebrating. 

I'll actually get to see her and her baby bump come Wednesday because Chris's folks are coming for business/pleasure.

This means I need to get back to straightening my disaster of a storage space guest room. I kind of feel like I'm working with Cinderella's ugly stepsister here: you can dress it up all you like, but it's still not  attractive. That's this room.  And I have to have it ready for someone to sleep in come Wednesday.

Procrastination, thy name is ME. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why I Will Never Join NASCAR

I don't like driving.
It's not that I'm bad at it, now . . . but . . . Well . . . I didn't get my actual license until I was nineteen. Why? Three reasons:
  1. I waited until I was 16 to get my learners because I was afraid to drive. I have barely-functioning hand-eye coordination and no sense of direction. You'd be scared to drive, too . . .
  2. My parents refused to teach me for a year because they were afraid to let me drive . . . Once they my dad did start teaching me (my mom was too chicken insistent), it was only down a designated, isolated road on Sunday afternoons
  3. I was so so SOOOOO nervous and terrified and had NEVER been taught how to parkanywhere but my own driveway, that I failed my drivers test TWICE. 
 For this, I permanently wear the driving cone of shame.
 Now, don't think for a second that I'm a bad driver.
I'm just . . . Well, I'd like to say I'm a careful, conscientious driver.
Chris says I'm timid and that that's a bad thing. I just like to make sure I have plenty of space, the people around me have space, and that I'm not in anyone's way.

You see, I hate being in trouble so much that I feel terrible when the jerks on the road dislike me because I go the speed limit. Or with the flow of traffic . . . or whatever. Because, you know, jerks are never happy. Just remind me of that when my palms start sweating because someone passed me (and the rest of traffic) and I'm all, "Oh no! I was going too slow! That guy must hate me! Oh no!"
Will I ever see the guy? NEVER. And yet somehow I care.
It's not healthy.
P.S. We're working on that . . .

But I'm a good driver, I swear.
People who ride with me say I'm a good driver. It's just that my nonexistent hand-eye-foot-eye-any coordination makes them wary, initially. I mean, I can't catch a ball to save my life, but, sure, I can maneuver a rolling death machine in and out of traffic.  
No one's died on my watch, folks. Not even hurt their necks or pinched their fingers. We are good to go.

So, all this to say that, yesterday, Chris and I had this conversation:
"I'll go with you to run errands tomorrow," says my over-protective husband.
"Chris, sweetheart, we've been here a month, and, the only time I've driven is following you back here from the packing house. Your family will be here in two weeks, and I have a feeling that I'm going to need to drive your mom and sister around to show them the sights. I need to feel and act like I know what I'm doing . . . actually, I just need to know, right now."
"You don't need to do that."
"Honey, it's what people do when they're out of state. They visit nice things."
"Yeah, well . . . "
"Honey, I'm a big girl. I put on my own clothes and everything. I can drive myself."

This morning, I wake up to a phone call.
"Sooooo . . . umm . . . my truck's in the shop because the brakes weren't working correctly. Come pick me up?" says the hubs all nonchalant. Like he wasn't afraid for my life last night when I suggest driving to the next town by myself.

And so I braved the merging-faster-than-you-can-blink Californian highways and rescued him and then drove home.
  All by myself.
I mean, the GPS helped a little, but can a phone merge you onto traffic? Can it avoid semi-trucks? Can a phone keep you the speed limit. Apple's impressive, but I THINK NOT!!! That was me, peeps. ME. AND NOBODY DIED.

And then I DID IT ALL AGAIN to pick him up from work.
Again, no deaths, no gasps or "HELL'S BELLS!!!" even.
Does anyone say that besides me and John Rhys-Davies?

We'll omit the part where I totally missed the entrance to Chris's office parking lot and didn't see him waving his arms at me (EYES ON THE ROAD!!!! NO WHERE ELSE!!! ROOOOOOAAAADD!!!!). . . but we fixed it in under five minutes . . . and after he stopped laughing way harder than he should have. I mean, really, he was no where near the road where I could see him.

So, yeah, I'm a good driver.
Anyone want to go joy-riding sometime soon? You know, after gas is a dollar again. HA!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pups and Flowered Strolls

The past couple of mornings, I've woken up to a gentle rub on the shoulder and the sweet nothings of, "Sarah, sweetie, the dog pooped on the carpet . . . and I have to go to work so . . . Could you, um . . . "
I tell you what, there's no other wake up call like it.
Way to get out of it, honey bun. I'll get you back, one of these days.
Also, one day, I will find a way to teach you to clean up pet puke without your turning green. Maybe.

She loves to cuddle in my lap while I'm on the computer . . . and then she starts nosing my hands until I use BOTH of them to pet her . . . Ham, much? Maybe a bit.
Pup's been sick with the runs for four days. Considering that she has delightfully fluffy thighs covered in long, long hair, this posed a slight problem. Let's just say that you can now add "dog butt barber" to my resume. Please and thank you.
Good news--I'm not a terrible furchild parent. I DID take her to the vet and he sent us away with smile, reassurance, and antibiotics.  She never acted sick, except for the obvious, so, now, we wait with a happy dingo and hope the runs solidify a bit. Or something.

Spring has arrived in San Juan Bautista--everything has begun to bloom and it is stunning. Just stunning. There are drizzles, now and again, that go off and on all day.  Sometimes, the sky is bright blue, and others gray, hovering foggy over the mountains the way breathe hangs in cold air. I adore it.  Gray, damp chill brings me back to London.  The fact that the town is small enough that I can walk everywhere brings me back there as well, and makes me think of college a bit.  As a new student, more than anything, I wanted to find a coffee shop, just some little place where I could have a cup of chai and study, a brief walk from campus.

Mississippi, where I attended university, does not have seasons the same as some places, but it has more than Florida. On winter nights, there was a cold that bore into you but no snow.  In summer, the air was thick, heavy with heat and no relief of sea breeze--stiff, smothering.  But springtime, oh, springtime was heaven.  For the first time in my life, I knew was Spring Fever was.  Even in my favorite classes, I'd stare out the window at the Quad strewn with students laying on their blankets, tossing frisbees. Spring was the only time the Quad wasn't as mucky as usual.  The sprinklers never turned off, even in the rain, leaving the dirt beneath the bright green grass perpetually black, damp, slimy, and slick. It nearly stole several pairs of my flip flops and, more than once, nearly had me falling on my bum. Spring time it was alive--all of us were screaming for sunlight after fleeing winter.  I'd wear skirts--the long peasant type--paired with tank tops or t-shirts and flip flops, looking like I stepped out of the 70's. My hair was long, and, sometimes, I'd put flowers in it, plucking them as I walked around the tiny Southern town where nothing happened.  It was the only time that I adored my campus.  My roommate, Emily, and I would lay out on blankets and read, soaking in sunlight.  Then, we'd walk to the local coffee shop, Cups, a lovely, artsy place filled with work of local artists and built in a little yellow house a friend of mine once lived in.  I didn't visit as often as I had dreamed, but my friends did.  I took a full load of classes and worked 18 hours a week at the university library, so I didn't get out much.  Still, very little beat sitting out on that little deck, sipping hot chocolate or chai, with my books and sunbeams.

Sometimes, town wasn't enough to satisfy our hunger for fresh air. We'd go driving out to the Natchez Trace, this beautiful stretch of land with all these little historic spots and pretty, hidden places like my favorite: Owen's Creek. We'd wander the woods, play in the stream. Once, we found a pair of graves from the Civil War.  I might not miss Mississippi a great deal, but I miss Owen's Creek.

Do you see the tiny trickle? The creek ended abruptly in this shelf that, most days, was the tiniest, most pathetic "waterfall" you'd ever seen. the shelf formed this awesome "almost cave" and then continued into the rest of the creek through the woods.  It remains one of the prettiest wooded spots in the Southeast that I've ever seen. I'm sure there are prettier places, but this little spot seemed like a fairytale to me.
Photo credit to my pal Rhyno. :]

I couldn't walk places in Florida.  Not really. Everything's very spread out, built for commuting.  When you do walk, it's brutally hot, suffocating.  You begin to sweat just walking to your car, but it doesn't dry, won't evaporate the way sweat is supposed to, cooling you. It just sticks, drips. Make-up melts, hair deflates, and clothes begin to stink of musk, deodorant essentially useless.  Residential areas are rarely within walking distances of super markets or restaurants. If they are, we drive anyways because it's too hot.  You melt and the milk risks spoiling.  It's dreadful.

Here, in this town, it's different.  I can go for a walk in the cool--almost cold--air and be downtown in roughly five minutes. From there, I have my choice of antique shops and independent restaurants of various tastes and persuasions. If I want to go to an actual grocery store, yes, I have to drive ten minutes or so on a highway, but, to be in town, to see little sights and enjoy an afternoon out, I merely have to put on my shoes and walk out the door. I love that. I have always preferred walking places.  That was one of my favorite things in London. I do not think I would like city life. There's not enough green.  I do, however, adore the commute system.  You walk, you ride the Tube, hop on a double decker bus, swipe your Oyster card, and you're off. I could go anywhere on my own two feet.  I loved that. I love it here, in this tiny, mission town with its buildings straight out of a western film, hidden in the hills from the outside, modern world.

So far, I have found a favorite burger spot. I'm on the look for a coffee shop, now.
Maybe I'll even start wearing skirts and flowers in my hair.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lessons from Trash TV . . .

Some days, I like to turn on the TV and not have to think.
Or get emotionally involved in the characters.
Or even laugh, really.
I want to be shocked, rendered speechless in disgusted disbelief.

I just want noise--noise that reminds me that my life could always be a little worse and that, doggone it, maybe I'm not such a bad person after all. Enter . . . BRIDEZILLAS.

If you've not seen it, I won't say that you should . . . unless you want to watch grown women act like two-year-olds.  Still, I've learned things . . . hence the title "Lessons from Trash TV" . . . because sometimes, I'm smart like that.  I get that this show is all about exploiting extremes, but the fact that the show ran for YEARS might say something (you know, other than the fact that Americans love watching the ridiculous antics of disgusting people) . . .

1. Somewhere, somehow, a wedding is all about the woman in white . . . or gold . . . or ivory . . . or whatever blinking color she choose to wear . . .
Maybe they were all fed the line, but, in every episode, every SINGLE woman, regardless of race, age, or demographic, says (er, bellows): "It's MY day! MY. DAY! It's not about you--it's about ME!"
Somehow I had missed this memo (maybe because my groom was as opinionated and involved as they come), but, apparently, a wedding is now a day-long event (month long? year long?) that is a celebration in honor of the bride. Not the union, not the families, not the couple--THE BRIDE.  Apparently, this gives a woman license to demand the rest of the world stop in its tracks to help her prepare favors.  The groom is an accessory, and guests are only there to marvel at her beauty.

2. Screaming and crying can still get you places.
I'm not much of a crier, but I get it when you just can't take it any more. Sometimes, you just HAVE to have a good cry.  What I don't understand is how we're told not to let toddlers pitch fits, but when a twenty-eight-year-old woman falls into hysterics, we just throw everything she wants at her feet. Seriously? I had a breakdown or two over my own wedding, but I got the "get up and get over it" routine and went back to stuffing candy into favors and setting up the tables and chairs for the event. I thought you grew up and kept going . . .maybe not .  . .

Confession: one of the things we would NOT compromise on were shoes. I had to have blue flats. He had to have chucks. It took some convincing (without screaming and crying, thank goodness), but we think it turned out swimmingly. ;]

3. Weddings are EXPENSIVE . . .and it's okay to steal because it's "Your Day"
Ok, I knew this. I did.  Still, to gawk at the prices . . . Wow . . . Are they gorgeous? Usually, yes. Can some of the couple completely afford it? Yes, awesome. Are some of the brides-to-be sneaking around their future mates/parents to spend and spend and spend WAY above budget? OH, HONEY!

4. It's okay to be a super jerk when you're a stressed bride-to-be
This goes along with 1 and 2, I guess.  I know that stress can turn us all into nasty creatures, and, considering most of these women are on starvation diets, being "hangry" makes it even worse . . . Still, that shouldn't be an excuse for hitting people, taping mouths, and cussing so sailors blush crimson.  Really? Were you EVER told "no" or taught basic people skills? Ever?!?

5. Grammar
Please use it. Please. Please please please PLEEEEAAAASEE!!! I know it doesn't make you a better person, but at least showing some basic knowledge of the English language, regardless of how much we Americans have butchered it. It makes you so much easier to listen to . . . Or is that just me? Am I the only one who finds poor grammar painful to hear?
And, really, can we find another adjective BESIDES the F-bomb? Show some creativity, people.

6. Strippers really do get completely naked.
Go ahead and laugh at me. I am just THAT innocent . . . The closest I've ever come to a strip club is Hooters and movies where strip clubs weren't really featured, edited, or I just wasn't paying attention. Ok, I guess I knew female strippers did  . . . Male strippers?  I had no idea. NO. IDEA. I mean . . . I thought the at least the thong stayed on . . . or something . . . It wasn't until they started blurring the screen at these bachlorette parties that a light bulb went off. "Oh my GOSH! He's . .. it's . . . in her face?! AAAAAAAH!!!"
Can you tell I didn't have a bachlorette party? Not that I didn't want one, but my sister--my MOH--was thirteen at the time, so . . . Slumber party anyone? Yeah, we didn't even really do that . . . Oh, well . . .
Please laugh at my complete oblivion. It's the only way I'll feel better about it . . .

7. People are out to ruin your day
This is, apparently, a common concern.
"My bridesmaids will ruin it."
"My mom is impossible. She's trying to spoil everything."
"My sisters are the ones really trying to steal the spotlight on MY day."
I had no idea.
No idea that this was an issue. Maybe it's only an issue for the very paranoid, but I'm paranoid, and that thought never crossed my mind. Sure, there were times where opinions bothered me, but I don't remember thinking, "This is sabotage!!!"
Anyone else have those thoughts?

Just because the hubs is so handsome ;] And his cohorts aren't too bad either ;]

8. It has to be PERFECTION or it's not worth it.
Every wedding has mistakes. You hear the stories from everyone who was ever married. 
At my wedding, the runner was too short and the groomsmen/ushers totally forgot about the grandmothers after the ceremony.
At my sister-in-law's, the flower girl threw her basket by accident at the beginning of her procession and proceeded to drop imaginary petals down the aisle.
At a friend's wedding, she and her hubby-to-be were supposed to memorize their vows, but she completely blanked on hers.
Mistakes happen. They're the parts you remember, the things that make you laugh.
But these inevitable quirks are the most dreaded thing in all of history. You do NOT make mistakes. EVER.

Bridesmaids are personal she-slaves until the wedding is over.
Really? Like, really REALLY really?
"It's a privilege to be in my wedding! Who wouldn't want to be in my wedding?!" bridezillas rant after demanding each bridesmaid go on special diets and finish favors. 
I saw my bridesmaids at my bridal showers.  My baby sisters/flower girls helped me with favors because they thought it was fun. My mom, her two friends, and I did the work. I felt special having the ladies up there with me.  I mean, really, they bought and wore the dresses I requested. Could I really have asked for anything more?

I did let them pick their own from a list of dresses in two colors . . . turns out two picked one style in the first color (right--Martha, my best pal since seventh grade, and my sister, Cat) and two picked other matching dresses in the second color (left--Mel and Julie, my best buds from high school and sisters-in-law).

 11. Being on time . . . what on earth is THAT?I run late. All the time. I do. It's awful. But showing up three hours late to your own bridal shower? Starting the ceremony two hours behind  schedule because you want to take more bridal portraits? I can't even imagine.  
 12. In the end, so long as you're married, it's all worth it . . . usually.
 With only the rare exception, at the end of the show, every bride is beaming, hanging on her new hubby's   arm, laughing as she says she would do it all over again because everything was wonderful.  She has her man; he has his woman; people are having a grand old time; and that's the whole thing. That's the best part. Forget flowers, cake, and bridesmaid's shoes. So long as those pieces come together, it's all fabulous in the end.

No, that wasn't planned . . . I had mentioned that I'd love to be "dipped" at the alter, but totally didn't expect him to do it . . . He did :]

And that's my rant . . . .

How about you? Any trash TV you indulge in? Lessons from it? Wedding nightmares?